HC Deb 20 June 1984 vol 62 cc317-8 4.57 pm
Mr. John Maxton (Glasgow, Cathcart)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Before we move to the Committee stage of the Bill, I should like to draw a matter to your attention. Many of us in Scotland object to such Bills being taken on the Floor of the House, because we think that they should be considered in an assembly of Scotland. However, I shall leave that aside.

When I arrived at the House on Monday I went to the Vote Office to obtain a copy of the amendments that had been tabled to the Bill. I had read The Whip and seen that the Bill was to be taken in Committee on the Floor of the House in one day. At that point there was a page and half of amendments. I then tabled some amendments, of which you will be aware Mr. Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson), some Conservative Members and some Opposition Front Bench Members also tabled amendments. Since then, the number of amendments and new clauses has increased to 261. Of those, 212 have been tabled by the Government.

I submit that that is an abuse of the procedure whereby, I gather, we agreed that the Bill should be considered in Committee in a day. I accept that in the strict political sense the Bill is not controversial, but it contains many provisions which concern our constituents. When we originally agreed that the Committee stage should be taken in one day, it was understood that the Bill was a consolidation measure and contained no great major changes. That is no longer the case——

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is raising matters that have nothing to do with me. The usual channels decide the allocation of time. However, if the hon. Gentleman has any complaints about the amendments he should take them up with the Chairman of Ways and Means, who is responsible for their selection. I have nothing to do with the Committee stages of Bills.

Mr. Maxton

Surely, Mr. Speaker, you are the person responsible for deciding whether we have a Committee on the Floor of the House or upstairs. Even at this late stage I believe that we should consider moving upstairs.

Mr. Speaker

The House committed the Bill to a Committee of the whole House. It was a decision of the House, not my decision.

Mr. Maxton

But that was prior to the tabling of all these amendments. We are now in a wholly different position from that when the House committed the Bill.

Mr. Speaker

I must repeat that the hon. Gentleman has raised a whole series of matters which would be more properly dealt with by his hon. Friend the Member for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth (Mr. Hogg), who is sitting in the Opposition Chief Whip's seat.

Considered in Committee.

[MR. HAROLD WALKER in the Chair]


Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)

On a point of order, Mr. Walker. I know that there is a multitudinous list of amendments, but it is possible that there is a typographical error. Between now and the end of proceedings, would you consider whether new clauses 6 and 8 might be selected for discussion because they are both important and both in order, yet do not appear on the list?

The Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Harold Walker)

New clause 8 has not been selected, but it may be debated with amendment No. 117. I hope that we can now proceed.

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